For most of us, an irresistible relationship with sugar started at a young age. How many of you remember standing at the check-out as a child and crying because your mum wouldn’t let you have that colourfully-wrapped treasure? We were told that sugar is bad for us yet that didn’t and still doesn’t make it any easier to cut this ingredient from our diet.
Now that we’re ‘responsible’ adults, we can make an educated decision about what to eat and what not to eat but are we making poor decisions without even realising it? Should we be quitting sugar completely?
For instance, you might not be eating heaps of Tim Tams or guzzling cans of Coke each day but that doesn’t mean sugars are absent from your diet. You’re likely eating sugar throughout your day without even realising it. Sugar is added to foods that don’t even taste sweet, like breads, condiments and other sauces. It adds up; most of us consume double the suggested amount of sugar per day. As a result, it is leading to increases in heart disease, strokes, Type 2 diabetes and obesity rates.
National Diabetes Week just concluded and reiterates the impact of sugar consumption. It is significantly impacting the health of Australians with 280 people developing diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes. But what can be done about it?
There always seems to be a new diet or nutritional fad taking society by storm from no carbs, high protein, no gluten and or no sugar. All have their believed benefits over other options but the sugar debate is especially interesting. It seems like an obvious decision to quit sugar, no?
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Sarah Wilson, a well-known Australian media personality and author of a book series, I Quit Sugar highlights her decision to quit sugar. She talks of the immediate improvements to her health and the positive effect on managing her specific autoimmune disease and thyroid condition. Her sugar-quitting empire was born; many Australian’s have devoted themselves to this no-sugar lifestyle but the program has its critics.
Is sugar-quitting really the best solution for our health? Is the no-sugar diet just another fad or should it be taken seriously?
On the other side of the coin, believed by many experts is that cutting out sugar entirely can be dangerous for both mental and physical health. For starters sugar is part of our biological makeup so it is misleading and unnatural to suggest we cut it out altogether. Though this doesn’t mean you should substitute vegetables with chocolate mousse, there are still natural sugars from fruit and honey that are okay.
Overall, the good thing about the no-sugar diet is that it brings awareness to our sugar consumption. It encourages people to look at sugar content and not eat processed foods. The concern though is that people may avoid healthy foods such as fruit because it contains fructose. They ignore the fact these also contain nutrients and antioxidants that will protect against other ailments. Cutting out certain foods can be difficult and vastly unrealistic.
A healthy diet involves eating a wide variety of nutritious foods while still allowing yourself to enjoy small treats. Sugar isn’t the sole reason for increased obesity or diabetes rates, however, processed sugar products aren’t helping the situation either.
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Here are some foods that might surprise you of their high sugar content:
- Flavoured yogurt
- Energy bars
- Fat free foods
- Sauces like BBQ or tomato sauce
- Salad dressing
What do you think of the sugar quitting movement? Have you tried to quit? Did it work for you?